David Graeber and David Wengrow’s anthropological opus, The Dawn of Everything, claims to offer an entirely new, radical view of the development of human society (implicitly: one that knocks down Marx and Engels’ historical materialism). This is no small task, but is the book as earth-shattering as the immodest title suggests?
Despite making waves in certain left-wing circles, the book offers a thin gruel. By fetishising the ‘creative’ potential of human ‘free will’, Graeber and Wengrow ignore the material conditions underlying the development of specific forms of society. In doing so, they defend an abstract idealism that has nothing to offer in terms of explaining our past, nor advancing the class struggle to end oppression and exploitation today.
This week’s episode of International Marxist Radio features Joel Bergman, a leading member of Fightback/La Riposte Socialiste, the Canadian section of the International Marxist Tendency.
*Note: at the end of the episode, we incorrectly say that Joel’s article appears in issue 41 of the IDoM magazine, whereas it will actually be in issue 42, themed around The State. Apologies for the confusion!